Enjoy the following short story, then check out the shoot below:
Close Call by Miranda Proctor
Violet put the Jeep in park, hoping the dark clouds above would remain quite so she could shoot for her blog. She removed her gaze from the sky and looked towards the house.
The grass swayed in the bitter wind, memoranda of the summer days. Languid and stark against the house, they brushed their tips along the concrete foundation, coaxing it to shudder with a warmth it did not know.
The house was hollow, starved so only its concrete ribs showed. Splashes of graffiti ripped across its surface. She knew whose hands were responsible.
Violet had felt like the walls were whispering to each other that day; whispering to the wind so that it could carry their message—that there were intruders within the forsaken cement walls. Intruders.That’s what she felt like within those walls. She had been with her best friend, who accused her of not being spontaneous enough.
She had watched her hand shake the can and spray its contents onto the walls.The fumes had made her feel light. Her friend had laughed the entire time, mouth wide and her German blond hair whipped from room to room as she scratched obscenities on every wall. But Violet had been quiet. Pushing little thoughts from her mind, she chose a wall and watched—with the squeeze of a finger, permanence was born.
Violet had been sure that they were going to get caught. For the following three weeks, she envisioned the police coming into her classroom to arrest her. The image of her being pushed against a desk and handcuffed distracted her from learning about echinoderms in marine science, preoccupied her mind while analyzing Frost in AP Lit, and made her just as anxious as her calculus exam. She could be arrested now—she had just turned eighteen a month earlier in April.
She made it through her senior year without getting arrested.
She reached to turn off the engine, but stopped. Violet’s camera rested in her lap. She had everything prepared for the photo shoot. But she couldn’t turn off the engine.
She looked at the house. There were holes carved into the cement where the windows and doors were supposed to go. She didn’t allow herself to stare at the openings because then she would have to admit it. Admit that she didn’t think she was alone.
Violet called herself a pansy, out loud. This was private property, surrounded by high walls and a gate (she just happened to know the code because her friend used to live in the only other house in the compound).
No one lived within the walls anymore.
Rain drops speckled her windshield. The sequins of her top nipped at her bare skin, urging her to go in before the clouds unleashed their means of expression. But something inside her fought back.
She felt the physiological response to her paranoid thoughts—her heart beat matched the rhythm of the drops of rain as they pelted the concrete foundation, one after another, making the house seem darker on the outside, while the inside remained dry and light, save for a few stray drops that entered through the space where the glass of a window was supposed to reside. Outside, the raindrops gathered on the tips of the dead grass stalks, building until the tips grew pregnant and dipped forward, bowing low to the dirt, before one drop too many hit—shattering the illusion and causing the stalks to spring upright, free for a slice of a moment, only to be weighed down, brought to a bow once again.
She pulled the handle and pushed open the door. The wind assaulted her, ripping at her skirt and forcing her to let go of the door so she could hold it down. With her other hand, Violet removed the dark brown curls from her face. The wind slapped her, forcing her to look up at the house.
There was a silhouette of a man standing in an opening on the second story. Violet took a half step back towards the Jeep. The rain was coming down harder now.
They both stared at each other. Violet refused to blink the drops that had landed on her lashes, like birds on a telephone wire. Violet took another half step. She blinked the birds away.
He stepped out of view.
Violet forfeited any notion of nonchalance and took lunging steps towards the Jeep. She heard the sadistic slapping of a naked foot striking the cold cement, one after the other, cutting through the wind.
She reached the door and pulled herself in. She was thankful she left it unlocked. She put the key in the ignition and pushed it into drive.
She never looked back.
Don’t worry, these pictures weren’t taken in that creepy abandoned house from the story (although they were originally supposed to be).
I wanted to create a juxtaposed look with this shoot. The extravagant outfit balances out with the simplistic woodwork of the house. Likewise, mixing textures and styles helps balance out any outfit—the sequined crop top paired with the soft coat, and the structured skirt offset by the laid-back vans.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should go willy-nilly and throw on every contrasting item in your closet. But it does mean that when you plan it out well, it can have an enhancing effect. Sticking to a specific pallet can help you pull it together too—that’s why I went for a neutral scheme.
So have fun, mix it up! Create something unique to your style.
Thank you for reading—much love.
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